Flat-pack furniture giant Ikea has announced its intention to trial a furniture rental scheme in a bid to embrace growing interests in a circular economy, while reducing their impact on the environment. We're interested.
A pilot project is set to roll out across Ikea Switzerland in a bid to gauge interest in this alternative model – the likes of which is unparalleled within the industry.
Speaking about this proposed change, an Ikea spokesperson said, 'At Ingka Group, we have an ambition to inspire and enable people to play an active role in making the circular economy a reality, which we can support by developing new ways for people to buy, care for and pass on products.'
Expanding on Ikea's long term aims, she adds, 'In order to become a fully circular business by 2030, this can only be achieved through collaboration. In addition to working with customers to find appealing and accessible solutions that enable them to live more sustainably, we are also partnering with stakeholders to work together and share experiences.'
Sounds good – but let's just take the time to find out what a circular economy is (it's a new one on us). Well, apparently a circular economy provides an alternative to the traditional linear economy – which is based on the principle of make, use, dispose – and aims to reduce waste by encouraging the use (and reuse) of products for as long as possible.
In practical terms, this means fixing, repurposing and recycling items, ensuring they're used for as long as possible and preventing them from ending up in landfill.
We're right behind that.
When will Ikea's rental scheme come to the UK?
As Ikea's rental scheme is still very much in its early stages, we can't predict when you can expect to see it rolled out across the rest of Europe.
But, here's what Ikea is already doing in the UK to reduce it's environmental impact:
- Recovery teams in every store repairing and repackaging products that have been damaged in transit so they can be sold and not wasted;
- Second life return options – providing customers with the opportunity to return a variety of products, including furniture, for resale or donation. Last year 12,240 sofas, beds and appliances were recovered for reuse and recycling;
- Providing spare parts – in 2018 over one million orders of spare parts were made in order to repair furniture rather than disposing of it;
- In 2018, UK operations sent zero waste to landfill for the third year in a row. Yes, really;
- Ikea Greenwich, the leading sustainable store in the UK, is set to open on 7th February 2019, providing a place for customers to meet, share, learn and shop with healthy and sustainable living in mind.